Elderly couple dies holding hands after 62 years together

A Texas couple left the world last month the same way they began their relationship 62 years ago -- holding hands. 

Thomas and Delma Ledbetter, of Lake Jackson, died less than 90 minutes apart on April 21. KPRC 2 in Houston reported that the couple ended up in a nursing home after they fell ill within days of one another. Delma Ledbetter fell ill first, followed by her husband. 

“We got him over to the nursing home with mama,” the couple’s daughter, Donetta Nichols, told the news station. “They had pushed their little beds together, and mama was laying right there, facing him. She was asleep, and Daddy goes, and he reached over there, and he grabbed a hold of her hand, and he just laid there with her, and it was so sweet.”

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Tom Ledbetter died a short time later. His wife followed not long after. 

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“I mean, it was exactly how they wanted to go,” Nichols said. “It couldn’t have been any better.”

Nichols explained that her parents were introduced by a mutual friend in Florida, where Tom Ledbetter was stationed in the military. Their first date happened when Delma Ledbetter accompanied him as he moved his car one day.

“They drove around two, three different blocks or whatever, and they came back, and they parked, and he said he reached over, and he grabbed her hand, and he said, 'I don't know what made me do it,'” Nichols told KPRC 2. “He said, 'I just reached over and gave her a kiss on the cheek.’”

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The couple married three weeks later. Over the years, they had two daughters, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. 

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In their later years, they traveled the country together, camping at a variety of campsites, their joint obituary said

“Their love was a testimony to many, and was surely a match made in heaven,” the death notice read. “Although the family is filled with sadness, they are left with many loving memories until the time comes that they are all together again.”

Click here to read the couple’s obituary and to see a slideshow of family photos.

People on social media were inspired by the Ledbetters’ love story, posting about the couple’s devotion -- in multiple languages. 

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